Moto GP to F1
If Valentino Rossi (46) is extremely fast on two wheels, why not four? These thoughts must be resonating in the head of Ferrari’s President, considering he’s flat-out enticing the nine-time world champion to join the Ferrari Formula One team.
"I would do everything to have Valentino (Rossi)," Luca de Montezemolo, Ferrari’s president and chairman, told reporters. "When he wins this year’s MotoGP, enough is enough, he must also win in Formula One."
Montezemolo, the former chairman of Italian carmaker and Rossi’s sponsor, Fiat, made this statement after announcing that he wants "major teams" such as Ferrari to be allowed to enter a third car in Grand Prix races. If a third car is allowed, he wants his 31-year-old compatriot driving it.
But the 62-year-old’s eagerness doesn’t simply derive from Rossi’s dominance in MotoGP. The pilot of the famed No. 46 tallied up 370 miles while testing a Formula One Ferrari F2008 in January at Circuit de Catalunya in Spain.
During the F1 test, Rossi posted the best time of 1:21.9, just shy of the lap record (1:21.67) set by Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen of Finland in 2008. The January test session was Rossi’s sixth with Ferrari since 2004.
Rossi was also asked to race in ’09 Italian Grand Prix. Ferrari was looking for a replacement driver for Luca Badoer, who had unsuccessfully tried to replace the injured Felipe Massa but had been replaced himself after two poor performances.
In the end Rossi turned it down due not being able to test, stating "You can’t simply come and try to understand the car in three days."
There were many rumors circulating about VR46 switching to Formula One, especially since his contract with Fiat Yamaha is up after this year. But Rossi repeatedly said he’s sticking with bikes, and may be "too old" to start a career in Formula 1 (photos above) after he’s finished with MotoGP.